The Trial of Edward Mero
ALBANY, NY (WRGB) An Albany man will spend decades in prison after a jury found him guilty in the murder of two area women.
The death of Megan Cunningham
On January 27,2013, just after 5:00 am Sunday, a fire broke out at 12 Arcadia Avenue. The body of a woman was found on the second floor.
Days later, the fire was ruled accidental by investigators. Police say 23 year old Megan Cunningham was found dead.
Shelby Countermine reported missing:
In December of 2014, 23 year old Shelby Countermine was reported missing. Schenectady Police say she was last seen on Crane Street.
A jogger found her badly decomposed body in a shallow grave in a wooded area in Coeymans in May of 2015.
Police say Mero was Cunningham's roommate.
He was also an Albany city employee with the Water Department, who police say had access to the location where the body of Shelby Countermine was found.
In May of 2015, police searched his home on Maplewood Street in Albany, a week after Shelby's body was recovered.
Mero was arrested, arraigned on February 27 2017, indicted on two counts of murder in the second degree and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.
In a press conference, State Police say the investigation took two years for Coeymans and State Police, the investigation into the death of Megan Cunningham taking another 2 years for Albany Police.
Coeymans Police Chief PJ McKenna said back in February of 2017, "Investigators looked into his background and it turned out, just by doing a Google search you'd find out he was listed as having been in a residence which was a place where a person was found dead as a result of a fire."
In court, Mero admitted he had paid Shelby Countermine for sex, even just before she disappeared in December 2014.
But, the defense said, that didn't make him the killer.
The defence argued that just because Mero's roomate was found dead after a fire that was ruled accidental also didnt make him her killer.
The jury dissagreed.
On December 19, 2017, the jury found him guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Candor and Raw emotion filled an Albany County Courtroom on Tuesday.
Edward Mero was sentenced to 50 to life in prison for killing both women in a matter of a year. He was also sentenced to one to four years for tampering with physical evidence. All of those sentences will run consecutively.
"I cannot find any shred of forgiveness or compassion in my heart,” read Megan Cunningham’s mother’s impact statement.
"No parent should have their child taken away in such senseless manner by a monster with no remorse,” says Shelby Countermine’s mother, as she read her impact statement.
"A predator, a deviant killer who killed on young vulnerable women for his own depraved gratification," says Countermine’s mother. “She died terrified and alone with an evil stranger. I feel as though this vicious monster has ripped out my heart and replaced it with stone."
Cunningham's mother said in her impact statement that she moved across the country after her daughter's death. A staffer at the District Attorney’s office read her statement for her.
"I am begging you to show no mercy in your sentencing, of the creature that killed my baby,” read the statement.
After taking all that in, Mero maintained his innocence.
"I'd like to apologize to the families but I didn't do it your honor. That's all I have to say," Mero said as gasps filled the courtroom.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares says he wasn't startled by Mero's response.
"There's nothing quite honestly that he could have said, that would have been satisfactory to anyone.
Mero's defense attorney Cheryl Coleman did not address her client’s claim of innocence.
"Today is not my client's day. The families have suffered loss regardless of anything else today I want to respect that," Coleman said.